Paul WilsonThe headline read Joy-rider in boat crash on drug trip. The article, published in The West Australian, 18 January, 2002, tells of a 17-year-old youth who, whilst high on amphetamines, broke into a $400,000 powerboat, which he then proceeded to drive at speed into the Rottnest Island fuelling jetty. Having caused damage to the jetty, he then headed off and ran the boat aground on a nearby reef, causing extensive hull and engine damage to the boat, leaving a repair bill in excess of $135,000!

The young man, who was supposedly celebrating the end of the school year at the time of the incident, pleaded guilty to the two damage charges brought against him and when questioned in court, claimed he had virtually no memory of the incident or what had taken place.

The Magistrate believed that, although, drug-taking was no excuse for his actions, she felt that his crime free past and young age meant that he should avoid detention or a fine and, instead, be referred to a juvenile justice team.

The juvenile justice team will supposedly set up an action plan involving the owner of the powerboat, which would ensure that the youth did not re-offend. Now let me tell you that's not even a slap on the wrist!

This young man for the sake of less than 12 months, has avoided being treated as an adult and, as such, has avoided having to make any monetary compensation whatsoever. Fortunately for the boat owner he was insured with Club Marine.

Consider the situation if the boat owner had had no insurance at all!

Whose rights are being protected here? It is the victims who remain punished whilst the criminals are nurtured with their rights so aggressively protected by the legal system.

We are currently reviewing what civil law options are available to us as we attempt to seek compensation from the guilty third party. In a last minute deal, Club Marine has signed up to be the major sponsor of the 2002 Australian Offshore Powerboat Championships. And just in case you don't know what that means, take a look at the front cover of this magazine to get an understanding of what the championships are all about.

The boat pictured is Riviera Racing's single-engine entry in the Class Two series, which is only marginally slower than its twin-engine Class One bigger brother (left). These boats are absolutely mind blowing and I am extremely excited about our association with the internationally regarded series of events.

Naturally we will be covering all stages of the championships, so expect to see much more of the boats as we bring you all of the action in future issues of Club Marine magazine.

Also in this issue we take a first look at Kay Cottee's 56-foot fast cruising yacht currently under construction, Warren Steptoe tries out a Baja 34 at Hervey Bay, Rob Mundle reports on all the drama of leg four of the Volvo Ocean Race from Auckland to Rio de Janeiro and we preview the Club Marine Southern 80 ski race.

Enjoy the magazine and remember that your safety is our top priority.

Paul Wilson, Chief Executive Officer, Club Marine Ltd.